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Neuroreport. 2003 Dec 19;14(18):2291-5.

The effect of musicianship on pitch memory in performance matched groups.

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Department of Neurology, Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


We compared brain activation patterns between musicians and non-musicians (matched in performance score) while they performed a pitch memory task (using a sparse temporal sampling fMRI method). Both groups showed bilateral activation of the superior temporal, supramarginal, posterior middle and inferior frontal gyrus, and superior parietal lobe. Musicians showed more right temporal and supramarginal gyrus activation while non-musicians had more right primary and left secondary auditory cortex activation. Since both groups' performance were matched, these results probably indicate processing differences between groups that are possibly related to musical training. Non-musicians rely more on brain regions important for pitch discrimination while musicians prefer to use brain regions specialized in short-term memory and recall to perform well in this pitch memory task.

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